Saving the arts
This holiday season, community members can gather at Wilsonville High School's main gym to see the walls lined with student artwork — sculptures, paintings, photographs and other fine art — and a stage filled with live performances.
The Music and Arts Partners (MAP) — a nonprofit organization that provides funding for arts and music in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District — is hosting the fourth annual Wilsonville Winter Festival Saturday, Dec. 15, from 2-5 p.m. to support the music and arts programs district-wide.
"It is a wonderful event and it's a community-focused event, granted the secondary goal is a fundraising event," said Shelley Kamikawa, MAP president. "It's a wonderful showcase of student talent as well as all of the educators in showing their talents and their instruction to our community."
The suggested donation for the festival is $25 for a family of four and $10 for individuals. This price includes a spaghetti dinner and a MAP membership.
"We have families of lower economic status," Kamikawa said. "It's an inclusive event. We will never turn anyone away."
In 2015, Kamikawa realized that Wilsonville had very low representation with MAP. At the time, fewer than five residents were MAP members, while West Linn had about 30 members.
"We saw an imbalance," Kamikawa said, adding that she thought there might have been a lack of knowledge about MAP in Wilsonville.
Kamikawa then met with administration and WHS music and arts department represetatives to discuss how to raise awareness.
"At the beginning of the school year we were discussing ways to to increase membership but also to bring about awareness to what MAP does for the community," Kamikawa said. "The educators and the administration and I came up with the idea to have a music and arts festival."
The initial goal during the first festival was to have 100 people attend and gain 20 Wilsonville members.
It turned out to be much larger than anticipated.
There were 350 community members in attendance and Wilsonville alone gained 100 members.
And each year, the festival has continued to grow.
Last year, more than 1,000 community members showed up at the winter festival to support the music and arts programs district-wide.
Kamikawa said the funds from MAP memberships go toward teacher grants and student scholarships. Last year, MAP gave out four $750 scholarships and since 1995, MAPS has given almost $1 million in teacher grants — which provide funds for classroom equipment and artists in residence — and scholarships.
"My oldest daughter is in college. $750 doesn't go a long way for books but at least it helps," Kamikawa said, adding that she hopes MAP can increase the amount of scholarship funds this year. "That all supports the school district and keeping music and arts alive in our schools and it's so important."
Though the festival is held at WHS every year, West Linn families are welcome to attend, as there are West Linn residents who attend WHS and are involved in the music and arts departments.
"It's not just West Linn and Wilsonville separately, it's West Linn-Wilsonville together," Kamikawa said.
The festival will highlight performances from "Soul'd Out," WHS's choir, as well as the orchestra, the band and the drama department.
"I'm seeing in different districts where music and arts are dropping and it's slowly declining, if not quickly declining, and in our district it's so alive," Kamikawa said. "It's thriving."
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the door with cash or card.